Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Orc3 Update3, Plus! Patreon! WOO!

Oh, Orc3. I'm looking at the first four chapters right now and still asking myself the same questions about how to approach the story that needs to be told, and finding myself stymied in the same ways. And that's part of the reason it isn't finished yet, for sure. But there's an even bigger part, too, that I've kind of been talking around instead of being open about. It probably isn't good for my brand or my future sales to do so, but maybe that's even more of a reason why I should.

You may or may not know that I was waffling pretty hard on whether to continue authoring. (Not writing, mind you, but definitely publishing.) As my job. As my priority. As my life.

I'd been dealing with some pretty difficult things, in addition--burn out, and also hurting my back so badly I am still not 100% recovered more than two years later (slow but steady progress!) I was watching books I loved with all my heart sink upon release, and my earnings fall off. I mean, the truth is, I'm not great at self-publishing. I can write a good book and I can put it out, sometimes even with a kick-butt cover, but marketing and publicity and selling myself, that's definitely a place where I fall short. And I couldn't justify losing money at publishing.

As long as I was in the black, that was one thing, but that margin of black was getting pretty narrow. (It's looking non-existent this year. Which is why, in part, I've gone ahead and finally launched a Patreon!)

What does this have to do with Orc 3?

I mentioned before that I had legitimate reasons for the hold up on this book, that maybe they were their own blogpost for another time. Well, this is it:

Orc 3 was going to be my last book. 

It was my final obligation to my readers. The last thing on my must list. I didn't want to leave people hanging. But BECAUSE it was going to be my last book, I wanted to write it even less. I didn't want to say goodbye to this career I'd built, this life I was living. I LOVE writing. I NEED writing for my own mental health (publishing maybe was becoming more of a detriment there but.) Of course I didn't WANT to quit. But without the sales, no traditional publishing contracts on the horizon, and finding myself back in the query trenches, as well, how could I keep supporting it? Supporting myself?

My husband is amazing. But he was basically killing himself slowly at his job, supporting us both. My modest earlier successes had given us some breathing room, but that was gone, now, too. And Orc3 not being done became something of an excuse. I couldn't quit yet, because it wasn't finished!

I started loading all the half-done projects I loved in front of it, because I didn't want to lose them too. I didn't want to say goodbye. And I didn't have to, as long as Orc3 wasn't written. As long as Orc3 wasn't finished, neither was I.

I wrote a contemporary romance (half-hoping if I could only sell THAT maybe it would buy me the time I needed, a few more years of cushion--it hasn't yet), and then another because writing the first had been such an act of love and joy and reminded me how much writing meant to me, how much I loved it--it went a long way toward healing what I'd hurt in my burnout--and half of a third for the same reasons. I put out that Fate of the Gods novella collection I'd always wanted to do, filled to the gills with bonus content I hoped would entice you. I finished writing a fantasy romance (FROM ASGARD, WITH LOVE) and published it for me, for you. Everything that I had that I could leverage, I tried to move.

It wasn't enough. None of it moved the needle, and if anything, I was in a worse place than where I'd started. But I came to a realization, too:

I couldn't give up.

Writing the books that I write, sharing my experiences and my perspective through fiction, sharing my faith with the people looking for anything approximating representations of their own and making stories like mine AVAILABLE to the people searching desperately for them--that is my calling. It's what I'm Meant To Do. Somewhere along the way, in publishing, I lost sight of that, forgot that feeling, the rightness of it all in my soul.

And then came this new job, for El Husband, and the move. My world has been a little bit upside down since probably September with everything that comes with uprooting one's life to start something new--where happily, El Husband won't be killing himself to keep us afloat. All things considered, that definitely had to come first, or I would definitely have no choice but to quit to support HIM.

So why is Orc 3 taking me so long? Well, in addition to all of that up above, now I have to deprogram the dread that I feel when I open up that document to start working, the association with Orc3 and giving up on my dreams, my vocation, my calling. This is why, when people ask me about it, I say: I want it done and finished probably more than you do. It's become a huge albatross hanging over my head, squawking my doom.

You can imagine, I think, how that would make someone drag their feet on a project.

And the problem of not being in the black, author-wise, isn't going to go away, either. Much as I had hoped otherwise, simply realizing this is what I am Meant To Do isn't magic enough to fix that. I'm not sure yet what will. Maybe Patreon will be a start in the right direction, maybe being open with you all about where things are for me will start some wheels turning where they had previously ground themselves to a halt. (Or make things worse, it's always kind of a toss-up.)

Thor says to me on repeat: Ask for what you need. The first step is admitting that I need anything from anyone at all (not easy for me--even when my late uncle just gave me the world's most depressing lesson on letting pride get in the way of living our best lives.) But being a writer, a successful author who can afford to keep writing books, that's not something you can do in a vacuum. I need readers to do what I do--I need all of you and your support.

So here's what I'm going to ask of you:

  • If you can, and it's your jam, become a patron!
  • If you love my writing, or have a favorite book, but no spare change for Patreon (I feel you), please tell your friends about whatever title it is you loved!
  • Don't forget, FORGED BY FATE is perma-free! You could get someone hooked for no cost at all but their time!
  • Tell your friends AGAIN about your favorite book--because I know for myself, I never ever remember a book title/author the first time someone recs it to me. If I don't hear it again, I'll forget. But word of mouth is still the best way to sell books!
  • If you love my writing, have a spare couple of bucks for impulse purchasing, and haven't read my latest release, FROM ASGARD, WITH LOVE--grab it now!
  • If you're desperate for Orc3, don't forget that THE QUEEN AND HER BROOK HORSE is available to you to fill the gap if you haven't read it already. I called it a novella but it's over 40,000 words so really--it's a book. I haven't left you COMPLETELY high and dry, all this time, I swear!
There are other ways you can help, like writing and posting reviews, and I'd be thrilled by any of that, too--every review is a rare gift! I wish I didn't need authoring to be my business as well as my calling, but unfortunately, I'm not there. I promise I'll keep working on my end to keep this going, that Orc3 WON'T be my last book after all, and I just need you to know: 

I'm so grateful for all your patience and support. Thank you for wanting to read my books.

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Facets of Fate Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Saturday, March 23, 2019

In Memory of My Uncle

Let me tell you about my Uncle Dave.

He was immense. Tall and mountainous and strong, making everyone around him look small. He'd let us climb all over him, as kids, while he was watching football. (And he was ALWAYS watching football.) Even though when I was younger, he always seemed quiet and reserved, later, more recently I realized, in the right circumstances he had incredible PRESENCE, too. Loud and laughing, with a million stories to tell that we'd never heard. I wish I'd had an opportunity to listen to them all.

Grandma told us stories about Uncle Dave, growing up. Tragedies, mostly. Opportunities he let slip by, times when he was too stubborn to reach for the happiness just beyond his fingertips and hold tight with both hands. In those stories, Uncle Dave was a mythic figure. A cautionary tale. But I'll never know if they were true. If he'd lived another decade, I still wouldn't. Because no matter how old I got, he was still a mystery, my uncle. A man who, from my perspective, kept his secrets and lived a very private life, too.

Uncle Dave was INCREDIBLY proud of me, as an author. So proud that even when he had distanced himself from other pieces of the family, he made sure I knew it. Made sure he told me how much it meant, how great he thought it was that I was doing what I do. Maybe he wasn't in the heart of things, in the middle of us every holiday, but he saw me--I think he saw all of us, after he found his way to facebook, and kept quiet tabs on all his nieces and nephews. Reaching out where he thought it was warranted, where he felt it was needful and he had something to contribute.

Maybe he was stubborn and prideful, maybe he didn't always get along with us the way we might have liked him to, or made choices we couldn't understand. Maybe we could have done more to get along with HIM. But that part of Uncle Dave I saw in this last ten years or so--that part of him that was watching over us from his careful distance, despite everything else going on in his life, that took pride in the accomplishments we shared--that's the part I admire. The part that inspired.

In the end, the Uncle Dave I knew had an incredible heart. And that's the part of him I'm going to remember, the piece I'm going to hold tight. It's easy to remember the cautionary tales, the tragedies of his life, told and retold to us by Grandma, but this part--this part of him doesn't get credit enough.

Because in the end, I may not have known my uncle all that well, but I believe without a doubt that Uncle Dave FIERCELY loved all of us.

And that's what matters most.

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Facets of Fate Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus
Amazon | Barnes&Noble